`But how? My God! my God! Was ever a woman so miserable as I am?...'

`No; I will break through it, I will break through it!' she cried, jumping up and keeping back her tears. And she went to the writing table to write him another letter. But at the bottom of her heart she felt that she was not strong enough to break through anything, that she was not strong enough to get out of her old position, however false and dishonorable it might be.

She sat down at the writing table, but instead of writing she clasped her hands on the table, and, laying her head on them, burst into tears, with sobs and heaving breast, like a child crying. She was weeping because her dream of her position being made clear and definite had been annihilated forever. She knew beforehand that everything would go on in the old way, and far worse, indeed, than in the old way. She felt that her position in the world she enjoyed, and which had seemed to her of so little consequence in the morning, was now precious to her, that she would not have the strength to exchange it for the shameful position of a woman who has abandoned husband and child to join her lover; that however much she might struggle, she could not be stronger than herself. She would never know freedom in love, but would remain forever a guilty wife, with the menace of detection hanging over her at every instant; deceiving her husband for the sake of a shameful connection with a man living apart and away from her, whose life she could never share. She knew that this was how it would be, and at the same time it was so awful that she could not even conceive what it would end in. And she cried without restraint, as children cry when they are punished.

The sound of a footman's steps forced her to rouse herself, and, hiding her face from him, she pretended to be writing.

`The messenger asks if there's any answer,' the footman informed her.

`Any answer? Yes,' said Anna. `Let him wait. I'll ring.'

`What can I write?' she thought. `What can I decide upon alone? What do I know? What do I want? What is there I care for?' Again she felt that her soul was beginning to double. She was terrified again at this feeling, and clutched at the first pretext for doing something which might divert her thoughts from herself. `I ought to see Alexei' (so she called Vronsky in her thoughts); `no one but he can tell me what I ought to do. I'll go to Betsy's, perhaps I shall see him there,' she said to herself, completely forgetting that, when she had told him the day before that she was not going to Princess Tverskaia's he had said that in that case he should not go either. She went up to the table, wrote to her husband: `I have received your letter. - A.'; and, ringing the bell, gave it to the footman.

`We are not going,' she said to Annushka, as she came in.

`Not going at all?'

`No; don't unpack till tomorrow, and let the carriage wait. I'm going to the Princess.'

`Which dress am I to get ready?'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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